Chickens – Keeping your Flock Healthy

If you are new to keeping chickens, here are a few common health issues to look out for:

Red Mite

Incredibly common and notoriously tricky to get rid of. Red mites live in the crevices around your coop and come out at night to suck the blood of your chickens. In the day time they are a brownish – grey, turning red after feeding. As well as being incredibly irritating for your birds, in large numbers they can cause anaemia, reduced laying and loss of condition.   Regular cleaning, making sure you get into all the corners is essential. Sprinkling the house & birds with diatomaceous earth is a natural solution plus there are several commercially prepared products. Wooden houses seem to be the worst as there are so many places for the bugs to hide. From personal experience, since moving to a recycled plastic house I’ve not had a problem with red mite.


This is a parasite which damages the gut. It is the first thing to consider if your hens have loose droppings and are off their feed. There are several species which affect different parts of the gut. Your Vet can test a sample of their droppings to check for coccidiosis and other internal parasites. Prevention is better than cure, and good hygiene needs to be maintained to allow the birds to build up a natural immunity without becoming ill. Treating your flock will require an approved disinfectant for the housing and medication from your Vet.

Egg Shell Quality

It takes 20 hours for the shell to fully form around the egg. The shell is composed mainly of protein and calcium, so if either are lacking in the diet this can effect the quality. Hens that are coming into or out of lay often lay unusually shaped eggs as their body adjusts to the change. Poor eggs can also be triggered by stress. If it becomes an issue, supplementing the diet with Gastro Grit will provide both calcium and extra protein for healthy egg production.


Your hens will moult once a year and the process will take a few weeks. During this time they will probably stop laying as they are using up their body’s reserves to replace their feathers rather than produce eggs. Boosting their dietary protein with Super Seeds will ensure they are getting everything they need for healthy plumage.


Just like any other animal, your chickens should be wormed routinely. Regular cleaning of their coop and moving them on to fresh pasture will help to reduce worm burden. Wormers are widely available and are usually added to their water for a few days every few month.